Full disclosure: I've only seen the 7 movies.

I understand that sometimes ships are 'stormed' in space. I am not sure how the troopers have the ability to break into said ships. If there's an airlock, it requires a lot of coordination with the invaded ship. If they are somehow suctioned to a ship, and they break in, wouldn't they be easy targets for a defending force?

How do storm-troopers storm a ship in space?

  • 5
    With great panache
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 17:03
  • 3
    In the first film, they capture the entire ship (twice - The Tantive and the Falcon), then board it, obviating the need for an airlock.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 17:07
  • 1
    Also in legends/EU material there are specialty zero-g 'spacetroopers' who attack disabled craft in space. Jettisoned from specially-designed assault shuttles, they wear combo spacesuit/armor with weaponry including cutting lasers and mini torpedo launchers- basically something Tony Stark might have made had he lived in the Star Wars Galaxy and been recruited by the imps.
    – Nu'Daq
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 23:47
  • @Valorum - how, though, is my question.
    – Mikey
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 2:04

2 Answers 2


I assume you are referring specifically to Imperial boarding tactics.

Well, when the Empire just wants to oppress people and board anyone they like, there is the thing called a tractor beam:

A tractor beam was a projected force field that manipulated gravitational forces to push or pull objects. Such devices were employed on some vessels, creating an energy field that allowed them to lock onto and move other vessels or objects.

Basically, a successful tractor beam lock will wrest control away from the target ship, allowing the firing ship to move the targeted ship into position for docking.

Beyond that, it is also possible to remotely hack into a ship for control of the ship's computer systems. This opens up new possibilities for a boarding party: The door can be made to open without blowing it up, for example. Doors can also be remotely operated to provide the boarders with tactical advantage, while sealing off the defenders from retreat or reinforcement.

So what happens once the ship is docked, the door is about to open and the stormtroopers are ready to storm? Yes, it's always going to be difficult to not score casualties, but don't forget that stormtroopers are militarised police. Their most frequent non-Rebel targets - smugglers, dissidents who are all talk, friends and families to be taken hostage, baby Jedi - aren't equipped nor trained to fight an organised military force. Even the Rebellion has to make do with whatever tech and recruits they come across - any good technology or men they get hold of won't be relegated to guard duty, they'll be doing special operations like stealing Death Star plans from under the Emperor's nose.

When it comes to full-fledged battle, however, boarding tactics are likely retained from the Clone Wars era. The enemy ship will be fired upon until it is crippled: Shields down, hyperdrive and preferably engines taken out, breaches to the hull or to hangars made. Once the defences - guns and fighter complements - are sufficiently softened up, the troop transports are brought in to land and seize the ship by force.


In the book Republic Commando: Triple Zero, a group of commando's board a separatist aligned vessel.

The skirt coaming shout out of the TIV's hatch housing and sealed tight against the freighter's hull while grapple arms hel it secure. The pressure equalization light flashed red and the TIV's blast proof inner hatch opened. "Dar, Take it!"

Dar slapped the frame charges on the freighter's hatch, the inner hatch snapped shut again, and a muffled whump vibrated through the TIV.

How [the pilot] managed to bring the TIV alongside the port hatch without ramming the vessel - or ripping the deckhead out of the TIV - Fi would never understand, but that was what trooper pilots did, ad he was in awe of them. The inner hatch opened again. Darman bowled in two flash-bangs - blinding, deafening stun grenades - and Niner was the first through the hatch.

In case that was hard to understand, they land a smaller boarding craft on the exterior hatch of their target and then create a sealed environment with an atmosphere around the hatch. Then they blow the hatch open and enter through the sealed environment.

So this is pretty much what you guessed, and it is as hard as you said. However, the clone pilots are bred to do this and other crazy manoeuvres.

This is however during the pre-Imperial era. I am making the assumption the military tactics were not drastically changed during the coup. Also, I'm 80% sure this is legends. It is endorsed or OKed by Disney, which could mean nothing. Do you know @Richard ?

  • 1
    Everything in the Republic Commando books is 100% Legends.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 20:41
  • Let's not forget that commando tactics aren't usually textbook, and indeed tactics employed are usually case-by-case: you could use flashbangs on biologicals while ion grenades on droids. Turrets may be a different game altogether. Then there's the matter of whether you're storming to kill, capture, rescue or seize. Time may be of the essence, or the enemy may be ready and entrenched. I wouldn't lightly suggest possible standard practices at the tactical level. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 9:11
  • @thegreatjedi You are absolutely right. This just seemed like a good example of what the very best of the republic's grand army would do to board when trying to capture prisoners. This pretty much the only example I have of non-Jedi boarding a ship, so something is better than nothing.
    – user45549
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:50

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